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Backpacker Magazine – August 2008

Denali National Park

Hike with grizzlies in this remote northern corner of Alaska's greatest park.

by: By Willie Karidis

Photo courtesy National Park Service
Photo courtesy National Park Service

No matter what yardstick you use–size, challenge, scenic grandeur, wildlife, solitude–Denali is the park by which you'll measure all others. "Discovered" by Americans Harry Karstens and Charles Sheldon in 1906, the six-million-acre wilderness is as raw today as it ever was, with 250 grizzlies, 100 wolves, and a caribou herd of 1,800. Backpacking here is just like the park: big and wild. Your way in is on a school bus retrofitted for hikers, but unlike your third-grader driver, the cheerful chauffeurs here will drop you anywhere along the 90-mile road. From there, it's wide-open tundra hiking, miles of braided rivers, and giant glaciers pouring off Mt. McKinley. And the certain knowledge that no other place will ever make you feel so small.




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